Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beauty In Death

I’m so glad they knew her.
Although my kids lost their grandma when they were seven and eight years of age, they still knew her and because of this, she has played a role in their lives. Even though she only saw them a few times a year, she took time to really know who they were. She had three granddaughters and three grandsons and she never gave them generic fair dollared gifts, but a gift that matched each one’s interest. She couldn’t take her eyes off of them and when they talked to her, she listened whole heatedly and with genuine importance. She would be so proud of the teenagers that my babies became and would be excited to watch Max prepare to leave home for college.
When my mama was dying, my children had the opportunity to spend time with her and watching my little girly readily climb upon my mother’s bed to kiss her goodnight, was beautiful.
There is beauty in death if we take time to see it…
Over eight years ago, after a stroke and an incidental finding of inoperable cancer, my mama had a wish to die at home. Along with my dad, my siblings and some amazing earth angels called Palliative Care Nurses, we ensured that this could happen. My mom had been a beautiful dancer but the stroke had left her legs in such a state that she could not bear weight on them in order to walk independently and of course, would never dance again. Facing him and supported atop his feet, my dad would guide her to the bathroom, the living room and the bedroom. He called this “The Dance” and one evening with his grand singing voice, as he guided her to bed, he sang, “Could I have this dance for the rest of my life…” 

On beauty in death, Kahlil Gibram writes
Dry your tears, my friends, and raise your heads as the flowers
Raise their crowns to greet the dawn.
Look at the bride of Death standing like a column of light
Between my bed and the infinite;
Hold your breath and listen with me to the beckoning rustle of
Her white wings.

As I sat at the dining room table that evening and in the moment when my dad danced my mom to her bed, my brother’s eyes met mine and without any words spoken between us, I discovered beauty in death - for this I am truly grateful.
This isn’t a special anniversary of her death, or life but a day where my thoughts just raced around her and so I will dry my tears and simply remember the beauty of all things mom…

~ Ellyn

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Launch in 4, 3, 2 am…

As an author friend launches his new novel, his debut one will be available as an eBook for a limited time. I encourage you to read about the interesting life of Detective Henry Wood.

~ Ellyn

Monday, April 22, 2013

Running On Country Roads Part II

Dear Country Road,
I’ve missed you.
I have been running for about nine years. At least I think it has been nine. I would actually have to sit down and calculate it because it is such a part of me that I have kinda forgotten. I just know, that I am runner.
With the exception of the last two years, I run everyday that I am at home and able to. Sometimes that means seven days a week and sometimes that means three. However, two years ago, a wind powered development and production project began in our area and with it, came vehicle after vehicle down our country road. I no longer enjoyed running outside and chose to use our elliptical machine.
The wind powered project is now completed and up and running. There are no more extra crew workers and vehicles down our road, and today as the sun poured in on me at my desk, I chose to take a break and run outdoors.
It was fabulous!
I am thrilled that I never gave up on running and supplemented with the elliptical, and am pleasantly astonished at how far ahead in my training I am, than I usually am at this time of year. Typically, in April, I am still training with a few one-minute walks during my run, but today it was continuous and I am celebrating.
As the warmer weather unfolds before me, I know that I will enjoy my country road more than I ever have.
~ Ellyn

Friday, April 19, 2013


With my knee high rubber boots, winter chore coat, toque and mitts on, I tiptoe on ice, breaking through crusty snow with a soft slushy feel in the middle, on my way out to the compost heap, remembering that there is hope underneath these four foot drifts of snow.
I try to marvel at the old raspberry canes and the dried asparagus ferns peeking their way through the dirty grey wrap that won't let go and I wonder when I will taste these gifts of the yard that just show up every year.
The unwelcoming wind bites my cheeks and I want to bite it back.
 I guess I’ll run indoors again today and hope that sunshine and warmth comes soon.
~ Ellyn

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Theatre Arts

It is with much sadness that I feel the need to write this note espousing the importance of The Arts in a society. Although I am distraught by my Government’s attempt to balance a budget by once again attacking education, I am even more disappointed with the way in which many institutions have decided to deal with those budget cuts. For this reason, the prestigious Mount Royal University in Calgary has made a decision to suspend classes in Theatre Performance, Technical Theatre, and Jazz Music. Classes in classical music were eliminated last year.
The Arts is what makes us most complete, as a people, and is as essential as math and history. 
Living in rural Alberta and with no drama program in our local school, my physically talented son has always played the role of athlete. Any random chance that he had to be on the stage, he relished, and continually asked for lead roles. This fall, he could go off and study Physical Education in University or push himself to play sport at that level, but as grade 12 comes to a close and at 18 years of age, he wants to give theatre arts a go. This winter and spring he has spent the bulk of his free time dedicated to performing and creating and currently sits on the wait list at Mount Royal University in Performing Arts. He has auditioned for other programs and is waiting to hear how they will be handling their budget cuts.  
As a researcher of child development, I know the overwhelming evidence that demonstrates a multitude of benefits that unfold from the simple act of children being engaged in fine arts and hope that Mount Royal University and others will reconsider their decision to cut these vital programs.
~ Ellyn

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Google Reader

Sadly, I am finished with Google® Reader. I have loved using this (RSS) feed reader and wish that Google® would have rethought their decision to drop it. I loved how expediently I could manage blogs that I follow through them and readily search for topics. I know that there are many ways to follow blogs and I checked out a few but over the last few weeks, have moved everything over to my Thunderbird Mail RSS, and have been pleasantly surprised by how much different it is than an email service. I’m curious to know what others are doing in light of Google’s decision to drop their reader service?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


My heart aches for all of humanity, and yet I believe that there is more goodness in this world than not. It is how I have lived my life, and the way in which I have taught my children to live.
Before our 16 & 18 year old arrived home from school yesterday, like many, Brent and I had heard and read an abundance of information and misinformation surrounding the tragedy in Boston. Even though they are older, we made a decision to only discuss it with the kids, and not let them see any more graphic details than what they may have already. In this wonderfully rich and openly interactive world that we live in, it is challenging to shut off traditional and social media and the news that comes to our handheld devices readily, causing us to be desensitized. I like that communication technologies are advancing in the way that they are, but need to remember that these devices have off buttons.
This simple and yet lovely message from Mr. Rogers keeps popping up and I want to share it here,  

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Whether one prays, meditates, hopes or simply thinks warm thoughts, for the victims of violence the victims of hate, it is those actions that are needed today and tomorrow.
Helpers create more helpers and goodness creates more goodness…  

~ Ellyn

Monday, April 15, 2013


“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Mark Twain
I’ve never thought of myself as someone who holds a grudge and yet I am easily frustrated by the behaviours of a few particular people who are close to me and so I must be holding on to some sort of bitterness surrounding my relationship with them.
It can be challenging at times, for me to see the lesson that comes when someone does or says something that irks me. Over time, I find that I harbour those ill feelings and am weighed down so much so, that I exist within a sea of negativity. Negativity causes my throat to tighten, my brow to furl, my skin to dry out and a restless sleep persists. Noting that I am feeling this way, I try to find a quiet time to look at the lesson that sits there presenting itself to me and waiting for me to learn it. What is needed then, is for me to acknowledge the lesson, release the negative feelings through breathing deeply and thank that other person for teaching me. When I do this, a warm smile ensues and I feel much lighter and happier that I am actually brought to tears of forgiveness for him and for me. It is a humble and yet powerful feeling.
Acknowledging the lesson can be difficult and more often than not, I find that the lesson is simply this: The other person has taught me how to not speak to someone. He may say something that I know is misguided, possibly an assumption, and is hurtful, reminding me that I would never want those words to come out of my mouth. Recognizing this, I find it easier to release the constricted feelings through breathing, meditation or prayer, exercise and sometimes it takes all of these actions and needs to be repeated.  
You see, what I have discovered is that forgiveness is a verb, a deliberate and conscious set of actions. Forgiveness then, “lightens the heart and liberates the soul.” Debbie Ford
~ Ellyn

Friday, April 5, 2013

On Work...

I welcome a challenge, a cerebral one that is, and love it when something comes across my desk that ignites a spark in me.
I am not intentionally looking to work for a wage outside of my home, but a few months ago, something presented itself to me that was connected to and yet quite different from the work that I have done for most of my life. I decided to apply for the position and was even more thrilled to get an interview. As the date approached, I became quite nervous, realizing that I hadn’t interviewed for anything for over 25 years and that every job that I had ever interviewed for, was offered to me. It was a tough interview and as I sat there answering questions, I came into a knowing that the job was probably not for me and as it turned out, I did not get it.
It is a courageous act to re-evaluate one’s work life and step into that place of vulnerability, envisioning something else, and I am proud of myself for doing so. Not to say that my ego wasn’t hurt, it indeed was. Ahh… but over the years, what I have discovered about egos is, they need to be knocked around a bit so that a person is humbled, develops more empathy and using the mind, follows the directions of the heart.
Marianne Williamson gracefully speaks about a perfect career being something that comes from deep within. I was fortunate to have stumbled upon my teaching career early in life and it was perfect, for a time. I loved what I did and never wanted to not love it completely. I knew that I was tiring and needed to make a change. Going back to University was the change that I needed, but that was 6 years ago. Presently, I feel fortunate to be a stay-at-home-mom, organizing our lives in order to savour each moment with my teens when they are at home. When they are not at home, I write, and I treat my writing life like it is a full-time job, asking that my words be a channel of love for those who read them. I will continue to align myself with the truth within me and if something presents itself, will step into that place of vulnerability once again.
~ Ellyn